A sign of our time

Published 1:50 pm Sunday, November 4, 2018

By John Warren

I have come to the realization that we live in an attention deficit world.  It doesn’t take much to grab our attention.  We jump from one sound bite to the next.

I turn on my computer and the latest ones pop up on my computer screen. Some are worthy of my attention others are not.

The news of a gunman entering The Tree Of Life Synagogue mercilessly killing people in worship was. It still shakes my nerves.  In fear, yes, but more so in anger.

The rabbi of The Tree of Life said our temple has been defiled! The Tree of Life Synagogue had become a murder scene. The rabbi said, “The Scriptures say The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want, but I want those people back.”

I can see the pain in the expression on his face.  I can hear it in his voice and I hurt with him.

I can’t image going through such a horrifying experience!

People I had sat by in hospital rooms, mourned with and celebrated life with, gone.  Why?  Because they were all sitting in the back?  Or because of the hate of one person?

I listened to the Rev. Michael Curry, the Bishop of the Episcopal Church of America, who was heard by millions at The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.  His subject for the ceremony was “The Power of Love”.

He said something very interesting that made me think.

He said, “the opposite of love is not hate”.

We talk a lot about hate these days, hate speech, hate crimes, hateful remarks.  Then there is bullying in schools, and the society in general and sexual harassment charges and black and white lives matter.

In North Dakota, the state has changed the voting regulations to require voters to have a street address in order to suppress the votes of 35,000 Native Americans who live on reservations and only have general delivery. In a country of immigrants, they are the only ones with a true right to vote.  We took their land now we want to take their voice because we do not like the way they may vote.

Where does this come from?

The opposite of love isn’t hate it is self-centered selfishness.

In each of these cases, it comes back to thinking and considering only what I want at the disrespect and disregard of the other person or group.

It is also disregard of Jesus’ two greatest commandments.  To love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself.


John Warren is Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church, 502 North 6th Street in Orange.